Apec leaders in San Francisco this week to deepen ties, confront global challenges

Apec leaders in San Francisco this week to deepen ties, confront global challenges

Summit to focus on trade and investment, digital economy, clean energy and climate

THE 2023 Apec Economic Leaders’ Week, which has begun in San Francisco, is set to see leaders, ministers and officials further Apec’s work across a wide range of policy areas this year including trade and investment facilitation, the digital economy, clean energy and climate, health, gender equity and equality as well as anti-corruption and food security.

The Leaders’ Week hosted by the US and chaired by President Joe Biden under the theme of “Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All”, is guided by this year’s three priorities of interconnected, innovative and inclusive.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) is a regional economic forum with 21 members.

Senior officials are starting the week-long deliberations under three pillars of engagement: the Digital Pacific pillar to expand access to digital connectivity, the Sustainability pillar to promote a sustainable and inclusive energy transition, and the Resilient and Inclusive Growth pillar to deepen economies’ ties and improve supply chain resiliency.

“Hosting Apec this year provides the United States with the opportunity to shape trade policies and drive economic growth in a vibrant Asia-Pacific region, which represents nearly 40% of the world’s population, almost half of the global trade and over 60% of the global economy,” US senior official for Apec, Ambassador Matt Murray said in a statement.

“This trade and investment engagement underscores Apec’s strategic role in our economic partnerships as this forum remains the premier platform for advancing economic and trade policies, fostering innovative ideas and supporting businesses, tiny and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).”

He said by actively participating in regional and global value chains, SMEs overcome trade barriers, expand their presence, drive innovation and access new markets.

This week-long meeting will culminate in the Apec Economic Leaders’ Meeting from November 16 to November 17, by which Asia-Pacific leaders will establish the strategic agenda and regional goals for the next year guided by Biden.

Preceding the arrival of Apec leaders, there will be the APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting on November 13, which will focus on policies that increase long-term economic output at the same time addressing progress on social goals such as reducing inequality and environmental damage.

The Apec CEO Summit will also be held from November 14 to 16, drawing business leaders and entrepreneurs from around the region to discuss how to build a future driven by sustainability, inclusion, resilience, and innovation.

“At the core, Apec is about how 21 member economies which are very varied in terms of economic development and political structures can sit together in a room, confront the most pressing economic challenges, deliberate on difficult issues and find common ground – all to further initiatives towards a better world,” said Tan Sri Rebecca Sta Maria, executive director of the Apec Secretariat.

“It is so necessary during this week’s set of meetings that we bring member economies together, not to focus on the differences and what divides us, but to focus on what we have been doing these past few years for regional economic integration, for youth, for women, for indigenous peoples and for our small businesses, and most importantly, to improve the lives of our citizens,” Sta Maria added.

This year also marks the 30th anniversary since the first time Apec Economic Leaders met on Blake Island, Washington, on November 20, 1993, when then president Bill Clinton convened the inaugural group to build a new economic foundation for the Asia Pacific region that harnesses the energy of member economies, strengthens cooperation and promotes prosperity.

The US and Malaysia are among the 12 founding members of Apec. The others are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mexico and Papua New Guinea followed in 1993. Chile acceded in 1994 and in 1998, Peru, Russia and Vietnam joined, taking the full membership to 21.

– Bernama, November 12, 2023

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